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2011 MLB Draft Preview-College Hitters

by Steve Garrity on Jun. 30, 2010
If there was a downfall for the 2010 draft class, it was the lack of top notch college power bats from the top college conferences. With so few to go around, players from smaller schools like Bryce Brentz from Middle Tennessee State and Michael Choice from Texas- Arlington, received longer looks from scouts; Choice was taken with the tenth overall pick. However where 2010 fell short, 2011 features several players that project to be impact players who will produce at the next level, many with all-star potential. This year's class projects to be one of the strongest in years and so far looks to be extremely deep in college hitting and power.

Below is the second of four top ten lists Draftsite.com will feature for our 2011 MLB draft preview.

TOP 10 COLLEGE HITTERS IN 2011



1) Anthony Rendon, 3B, Rice University
The consensus top hitter in the 2011 class, he has everything you could want. Rendon has an extremely quick bat, with good weight transfer, giving him plenty of power, as the ball seems to just pop off his bat. He combines it with very good plate coverage, tremendous pitch recognition, and patience. At third base his defense is above average; he has very good range, to go along with soft hands and an extremely strong arm. The few marks against him could be that he isn’t the biggest guy at 5’11" and he lands somewhat late on his front foot at the plate, but that is just nitpicking. College pitchers just don’t enjoy facing Anthony Rendon right now. To top it all off he has very high baseball instincts and should be the top bat and potentially the top player off the board when the draft rolls around.

2) Jackie Bradley Jr., CF, South Carolina
Jackie Bradley is one of the smoothest players in college baseball. In terms of tools he has the potential to be a five tool player down the road. He is just coming into his power now and if he fills out his 5’10" and 180 lbs frame there could be more to come. Presently his greatest assets are his arm strength and speed, which play up more in centerfield, to go along with a very good bat. His swing is smooth, balanced and level and should allow him to hit for average. Bradley has never looked out of place playing in the SEC and as a true freshman in the Cape Cod league; he has performed well wherever he has played and does not back down from any challange. His outfield reads could be better, but that should come in time.

3) Preston Tucker 1B, Florida
Coming out of high school Tucker was passed over by all 30 teams in the 50 round draft in 2008. His swing is not the prettiest; he takes a hard step towards the mound, which can make him look like he is little off balance. However Preston Tucker is incredibly strong; He has tremendous strength in his forearms and wrist which allow him to hit towering homeruns. He may look foolish in his swing, but he stays back on the ball and has pretty decent weight transfer. If he was eligible to come out in 2010 he would have been a possible top ten pick, because no one could touch him in terms of power. The same could be said about 2011, and if Tucker continues to perform he will be one of the top bats off the board.

4) Zach Cone OF, Georgia
Cone was one of the most athletic kids in the 2008 draft, where he was selected in the supplemental third round by the Angels. His career at Georgia has done nothing to dispel those thoughts, and he has shown why he is so highly thought of. In the mold of Grady Sizemore, Cone has a very athletic and lean build at 6’2" and 205 lbs; he has the ability to play all three outfield spots, with excellent defense, committing only one error to go with an SEC leading 7 assists this past season. He does everything smoothly and that includes hitting, which he does with a balanced swing that should allow him to hit for average and power. Along with his above average hit and power tools, his best tool may be his speed, where it was reported that he can get down the line in 4.1 seconds from the right side. Having a father who played in the NFL, Cone no doubt has the athleticism to play at the professional level and become an impact player.

5) Mikie Mahtook OF, LSU
Coming out of high school Mahtook was one of the top two sport players in the 2008 draft. As a top quarterback prospect, many thought he would wind up playing both for LSU; it looks like sticking to baseball has paid off. Mahtook is insanely athletic, reportedly running the 40 in 4.4 seconds. In his first big opportunity at playing time for the Tigers, he took over centerfield and the lead off spot and went on to become the SEC tournament MVP in 2009. Mikie has a very quite swing, in which there is little to no wasted movement. Along with a very soft load, he is able to produce more than enough power. With his plus athleticism and above average tools, to go along with a very compact build at 6’1" and 196 lbs, Mahtook has everything you look for in a top college bat.

6) B.A. Vollmouth SS, Southern Miss
Vollmouth, like many of the top college hitters in this class, has plenty of power. When watching him, his bat does not look extremely fast, but it is because his swing is very smooth, balanced and easy. His 6’4" frame also allows him to build up plenty of leverage to produce towering shots. Around the plate Vollmouth has very good coverage and is extremely patient, which helped him lead Southern Miss in walks. Interestingly, B.A. wears only one batting glove at the plate on his left hand. As great as Vollmouth is with the bat, defensively his game is somewhat flawed. Playing shortstop, he committed 24 errors in part due to so-so range to go with sub-par speed. His arm is strong and accurate though and with the lack of athleticism many predict he will end up at third base. It will be his bat that takes him to the next level, and if he can continue to produce, Vollmouth should be one of the top hitters selected.

7) Ricky Oropesa 3B, USC
The first thing that comes to your mind when you see him is how big he is. At 6’3" and 225 lbs, he has a major league build already. Naturally with that size, Oropesa is one of the better power hitters in college baseball, and led the Trojans with 20 homeruns this past season. To go along with the plus power, Oropesa is also able to make solid contact due to his strong forearms and quick hands. The main problem for him though is he that has to learn how to make consistent contact. He is solid at third base and coming out of high school he was a two- way player, so the arm is there. However, he will have to watch his weight. If he continues to grow a potential move across the diamond to first base will be in order.

8) Jason Esposito SS, Vanderbilt
If ever there was a player in this class that just looked like a natural baseball player, it is Jason Esposito. At 6’1" and 198 lbs, he has an extremely athletic build to compliment his exceptionally fluid actions. At the plate Esposito’s swing is incredibly smooth, balanced and athletic. The lack of wasted movement and bat speed allow him to make consistent contact and produce very good power. In the field he is very quick and agile, with soft hands and more than enough arm strength. Esposito has everything he needs to move up draft boards, and with another productive season, he should hear his name early.

9) George Springer OF, UConn
At this point Springer is more of a swinger than he is a hitter. The tool that is going to carry him is going to be his power. With a long, lean, athletic build at 6’3" and 200 lbs, Springer has room to grow and it should allow him to hit for more power down the road. At the plate, he produces very good bat speed and loft in his swing. Presently, he is more a pull hitter, which isn’t a big surprise at this age. However he can get into trouble by cheating some, and diving for the ball instead of staying back. In the field his arm and speed are at average or a tick below, but should be more than enough for left field at the next level.


10) Steven Proscia 3B, Virginia
Proscia is a player that will not wow you at any one thing, but remains solid in many. He was a two-way player coming out of high school, but has played third base for the Cavaliers. At the plate Proscia’s swing is not the prettiest; he has a poor weight transfer and tends to slightly collapse his back side. But he is a big strong kid at 6’2" and 215 lbs and produces decent power numbers. In the field he is fairly solid; his strong arm remains, and he can make the plays at third. He isn’t the most athletic, but he produces numbers and with a few tweaks could be a good player at the next level.